Opinion

FINS swim program saving lives

Summer vacations have finally arrived and many families are looking for ways to cool off. Often that includes swimming.

Around 20 years ago the late B.B. Baxley grieved over the drownings of children in Barnwell County. He decided to do something about it.

A member of the Rotary Club of Barnwell County, he recruited the club to sponsor a swim program whereby American Red Cross certified instructors teach children how to swim.

The club continued to sponsor the program even after Baxley passed away.

Voting in primary is critical for Barnwell County

Next week there are some very important political races to be decided.

Depending on whether you are voting Democrat or Republican and which county council district you live in will determine if you have the opportunity to cast a ballot.

Those who live in Barnwell County Council District 3 and vote Republican can cast a ballot for one of three candidates - Keith Sloan, Donald Q. Harper or Tim Bodiford. Sloan is the incumbent candidate.

For those who live in Barnwell County Council District 5, the Republican candidates are Joe Smith, incumbent, and Ben Kinlaw.

Take heed - it’s hurricane season

June 1 was the start of hurricane season and it began with a one-two-three punch of tropical storms which have soaked this area.

Just because we live several counties inland doesn’t mean we won’t feel the impact of a storm.

Additionally, U.S. Highways 278 and 78, which run through our county, are evacuation routes for those living in Beaufort County not to mention those headed northwest from Florida and Georgia.

Now that we do not have a hospital in the county, it is even more important for individuals to make preparations.

A letter to the Class of 2016

Dear Class of 2016:

First off, we want to congratulate you on a job well done as you conclude your high school career and start the next chapter in life.

You have worked hard, gained knowledge, overcome obstacles, celebrated accomplishments and made new friends that will last a lifetime.

You are now officially adults. That can be a scary thought as you prepare to leave your comfort zone and the safety net of your family.

Arrest of WEHS principal is tragic for all involved

Rumors are easy to come by, especially in a small town. However, the facts aren’t always as accessible.

For a week now there were plenty of rumors going around as to why the principal of Williston-Elko High School resigned last week, just a week and a half before the school year ends. Superintendent Dr. Missoura Ashe said she could not discuss personnel issues, including whether any other employees are involved. All she would say is that Joel Mitchell left to pursue other job opportunities.

Pack the park

Monday, May 30 is Memorial Day, a time when many have the day off from work and plan to enjoy a day of traveling, shopping and grilling out.

While there is nothing wrong with those activities, let’s not forget the true meaning of the holiday.

It’s a time to remember the men and women who paid the ultimate price in serving their country. They paid with their lives.

As you enjoy the festivities of Memorial Day and the summertime weather, please take the time to pause and reflect on those who gave their lives for this country.

Appreciation given to law enforcement

“It takes a special kind of courage to be a peace officer.”

We could not agree more with those words from President Barack Obama’s presidential proclamation declaring May 15-21 as National Police Week.

The work of all men and women in uniform across this country has come under attack lately after the questionable acts of a few officers have been scrutinized. Some people view all officers in a negative way and want to make it a race issue.

However, that’s a far stretch from reality.

Don’t wait to Jimbo’s leak

Dear Editor,
An article in the Barnwell paper on May 11 –Jimbo’s has a leaking gas tank, already reached Fuller Park area.
We need this fixed now before it gets into Lake Edgar Brown.
DHEC wants to monitor this problem. We don’t need to wait until it gets worse.
Past history, we have waited. Case in point – county landfill also leaked into ground water. We had to run city water line out to the people there.
Let’s not wait again.
 
Thank you,
William Mansfield,

Ask senator to drop opposition

Dear Editor,

Government belongs to YOU, not politicians. You have every right to know what your elected and appointed officials are up to and how government bureaucracies operate at every level whether they be towns, cities, counties, school boards or state government.

That’s why 40 years ago South Carolina enacted the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). It was model legislation for the nation at the time, but sorely needs updating to plug holes that have been created by those who don’t want to be bothered by citizen inquiries and sunshine on government.

Support should be given to Barnwell EDC

Dear Editor,
For the past ten months I have been acting as the “interim” Executive Director of the Barnwell County Economic Development Commission (EDC) and have worked with an extremely dedicated group of volunteer leaders to organize and re-focus activities to promote Barnwell County as a competitive place for companies and individuals to conduct business. 

Local companies urged to use apprentices

Would you like to be an apprentice?

No, we are not talking about Donald Trump’s long-running reality television show where businesspeople compete for a job within the billionaire’s organization.

Instead, we are referring to a person who agrees to work for a certain period of time at low wages while learning a trade from a skilled employer. As Apprenticeship Carolina’s website describes, it is a “learn while you learn training model that combines structured on the job training, job related education, and a scalable wage progression.”

Get children 'hooked'

In addition to good jobs, our community needs positive outlets for our residents, especially youth.

One such opportunity is happening this weekend.

The annual Hooked on Fishing, Not on Drugs Fishing Rodeo is set for Saturday, May 14 from 8 a.m. to noon at the fish hatchery behind the Department of Natural Resources office on Dunbarton Boulevard in Barnwell. It is located beside Fuller Park.

May 14 is last day to register to vote in primary

Dear Editor,
As the political season heats up, everyone’s focus turns to our November 8, 2016 general election. This week, with a decisive win in Indiana, the Republican presumptive nominee is Donald Trump. There are four more primaries remaining in the month of May, and then on June 7, the remaining final five primaries will complete this cycle. 
On the Democrat side, the two candidates continue to draw contrast how they would govern our country.

Take a book, return a book

At first glance last week, the new Little Library at Fuller Park had been damaged and wiped out of books.

A resident informed us on April 26 that the door to the wooden box was damaged, the plexiglass was torn off and all books were “checked out” leaving the little library empty. The door and plexiglass have since been fixed and the library’s inventory has been replaced.

However, there may be more to the story.

The whole purpose of a library is for books to be “checked out” and a love of reading to be instilled. This goes for public, school and little libraries.

Step increases are step forward

A few months ago we encouraged the Barnwell District 45 School Board to restore missed step increases for teachers and other staff who had it withheld during tough economic years.

The board stated they would make this a priority as long as funds were available. To keep their word, the preliminary budget for the 2016-17 school year includes $197,507 to bring affected employees up to date on their step increases.

We believe this is a good move and money well spent. Spending money in the classroom where students are directly affected is important.

Teen pregnancy of great concern in Barnwell

Dear Editor,

May is Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month. The issue of teen pregnancy and the increasing rates of sexually transmitted infections for Barnwell County are of great concern.

Consider the following facts:

• In 2014, Barnwell County had 37 teen births among females aged 15-19 years of age. This was up two births from 2013 where Barnwell County had 35 teen births.

• One in four girls in South Carolina will become pregnant before their 20th birthday.

• 52% of all mothers on welfare had their first child as a teenager.

Uniting makes a difference in our lives

United we stand, divided we fall.

We’ve all heard this phrase which is attributed to John Dickinson, a founding father of America. However, it’s been used by many folks over the years, including after the 9-11 terrorist attacks that rocked our country.

While everyone certainly has their differences, that doesn’t mean we can’t work together to make Barnwell County the best place it can be.

Many folks, including some who no longer live here but care about their hometown, are working to make a difference.

D19 Superintendent gives ‘Report to the People’

Dear Editor,

This year marks my tenth and final year as Superintendent of Barnwell #19. Each year a “Report to the People” has been printed to share our progress at the end of a school year. This year is a tenth anniversary edition. We will look back with pride over past accomplishments as we anticipate a future of progress and change.

Since 2006, we have seen facility improvements as a result of two five-year facility plans developed to set priorities.

Major projects

Renovation of the Blackville-Hilda High School Gymnasium

Smith family grateful for kindness

Dear Editor,

The family of the late Leon Smith Sr. is truly grateful for all acts of kindness shown to them during his passing. May God continue blessings upon each and every one of you. Special thanks to MUSC of Charleston, Pruitt Health of Aiken, Aiken RMC, and Guinyard and Sons Funeral Home of Barnwell and Sheffield Funeral Home of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Thank you,

Dorothy Smith and family

 

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